BP seeks to reassure North Sea workers

Staff in Aberdeen told they have nothing to fear

The head of BP’s North Sea operations has returned from the US Gulf of Mexico to reassure his staff in Aberdeen that BP does not intend to leave their region.

Bernard Looney, managing director of BP’s North Sea business, will hold a series of meetings with staff in Aberdeen and fly to some of the company’s offshore platforms on a 48-hour visit after having been seconded to Houston and Louisiana since shortly after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20.

On Monday, he wrote to BP’s North Sea staff: “I can confirm that, while BP is reviewing its portfolio following the Deepwater Horizon incident, BP has no intention of exiting the North Sea. We have been here over 40 years, have a very significant investment programme over the next five years, and plan to be here for decades to come.”

BP pumped 320,000 barrels a day from the North Sea last year and aims to maintain production at about 300,000 b/d. That is costing about $1.5bn in capital expenditure and a similar amount in operating expenditure.

Mr Looney’s trip follows BP’s announcement last week that it was to sell at least $10bn in assets to help pay for the liabilities after the accident, which has caused the worst coastal oil spill in US history.

Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, returned to the UK late last week to reassure BP partners and investors that the company would survive the fallout from the spill.

He is due to meet investors this week and plans to travel to Russia, BP’s most important country of operation after the US, in the next two to three weeks.

Yuri Fedotov, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, yesterday said Moscow wanted guarantees that its joint ventures with BP would not suffer. “We want to see
how it will work and how this situation will affect … these joint ventures in Russia. We want to have some guarantees it will continue to work,” he said.

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